The Fig Leaf on Obamacare’s HHS Mandate: 3 Things Everyone Should Know

by Nikolas T. Nikas and Dorinda C. Bordlee,
Bioethics Defense Fund
February 12, 2012

  • See Fact Sheets and more info below
  • The President’s so-called “compromise” on the HHS abortifacient mandate is a nothing but a thinly-veiled attempt to hide the Big Brother tactic of compulsion of conscience under the fig leaf of “free contraceptive coverage” from the employer’s insurance companies.  Here are three things that everyone should know about the unacceptable scheme:

    1.  The HHS mandate is Obamacare in action. In his statement to the nation following a firestorm of criticism from even his closest public supporters, the President actually finalized the exact same HHS mandate that has been publicized and highly criticized.   It is important to understand that the administration is now officially implementing the vast power granted to it under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).  As Bioethics Defense Fund has exposed in our public education about the language of the bill since its introduction in 2009, Obamacare gives Secretary Sebelius vast and unchecked discretion to implement onerous government regulations that are not subject to the approval of Congress.

    2. Religious Employers Still Underwrite the “Free” Objectionable Services. As set forth in the White House’s own “Factsheet” below, the President has now issued an empty “compromise” promise that HHS will at some point fashion a new fig leaf rule. The yet undefined rule will allegedly enable employees of objecting religious employers to get coverage for the abortifacient drugs and sterilizations “free” from the employer’s insurance company itself.Anyone with even a basic understanding of economics can see that the employer is still paying for the coverage. The insurance company will simply increase the base health benefits premium charged to the religious employer, so that the “free” abortifacient coverage will not bankrupt the insurance company.   Further, many religious employers are self-insured.   Therefore, religious employers are still in the exact same boat.

    3. Lay Employers who have conscience objections are out in the cold. The fig leaf proposal by the President also wholly fails to provide any exemption to lay people who have religious or moral objections to providing coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives and sterilizations.   Lay Catholics and other people of conscience who run businesses are still compelled by the now finalized HHS Rule; the fig leaf promise won’t apply to them at all.

    CONCLUSION: The deceptive White House proposal is simply “unacceptable” as confirmed in a concise letter by over 118 (and counting) leading scholars, journalists and public-interest leaders (including Bioethics Defense Fund).  The letter was drafted by Notre Dame law professor O. Carter Snead and signed by leading scholars such as Harvard law professor Mary Ann Glendon, and Princeton professor Robert P. George.

    The bottom line is that the fig leaf proposal issued on Friday by the White House reveals that this administration believes the American people are gullible and unaware that there is no such thing as a free lunch. The moral absurdity of the fig leaf proposal is akin to saying, “Okay, fine. You don’t have to kill that person; just give the money to a hit man and he will kill the person . . . for free.”

    3 THINGS: BDF’s NRO Post: Three Things Everyone Should Know about the HHS Mandate

    ACADEMICS LETTER: “Unacceptable”: Read the letter denouncing the HHS “compromise” signed by over 118 notable Scholars, Journalists and National prolife leaders including BDF’s Nikas and Bordlee.

    USA Today: U.S. Bishops: Obama so-called compromise is “UNACCEPTABLE.”

    Read the White House Doublespeak: “White House Fact Sheet: Women’s Preventive Services and Religious Institutions”

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